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Presentationzen DESIGN: Simple Design Principles and Techniques to Enhance Your Presentations April 18, 2011

Posted by kf2011 in Uncategorized.

By 96.03% chance (=242 out of 252 pages), you will find colorful photos and/or slides when you randomly open this book.

The figure clearly illustrates the nature of this book. This 252-page book introduces well over 1,000 photos and presentation slides to support readers to achieve the following:1) Understand basic concepts of graphic design; 2) Create better visuals and 3) Communicate better in readers’ presentation.

The book is composed of logically straightforward flow; problem definition, theory, practice and check (kaizen).

The author defines design as being about people creating solutions that help or improve the lives of other people. The author believes that design is not just an art, but there is art in design, and well-designed things look good. Due to the fact people make instant judgments when confronted with something, the author stresses design matters.

How can we think like a designer? The author summarized the steps needed to think like a designer. They are: 1) Embrace constraints; 2) Practice restraint; 3) Know when to stop; 4) Adopt a beginner’s mindset; 5) Check your ego at the door; 6) Focus on the experience of the design; 7) Become a master storyteller; 8) Think communication – not decoration; 9) Obsess about ideas – not tools; 10) Clarify your intention; 11) Sharpen your vision and curiosity; 12) Simplify as much as you can – but no more; 13) Utilize empty space as well as 14) Learn all the “rules” and know when and why to break them.

Then, the author explains the major components consisting of design. They are: 1) Presenting with type; 2) Communicating with color; 3) Using images and video to tell stories as well as 4) Simplifying the data.

The author illustrates the following three actions to enhance the quality of design. They are 1) Using space; 2) Creating purpose and focus as well as 3) Achieving harmony.

The most important thing which I learned from this book is about using space. On page 209, the author introduces the Japanese word “Yohaku-no-bi”, which literally means “beauty of extra white.” As a Japanese, I remember a famous old story in Japan.

“One day, Hideyoshi heard that flowers bloom around Rikyu’s house. He wanted to see many beautiful flowers, so he decided to visit Rikyu’s house the next day. However, when he visited Rikyu’s house, he found no flowers on the ground. He was disappointed. When he entered in Rikyu’s house to make a complaint, he found one big colorful flower in a vase standing alone in a dark empty room. The morning sunshine lit the flower. He noticed its beauty. Rikyu had cut down the rest of the flowers to strengthen its beauty.”

Japanese traditionally see meanings in empty space.

The author has lived in Japan for over 20 years. He gets a lot of hints from Japanese traditions and daily life to create good design. The book gives me an opportunity to utilize Japanese traditional culture in a western way, making a presentation.